Ballintubber still best

Ballintubber’s position at the top of the pile within the county’s club scene was confirmed this afternoon at McHale Park when, for the second year in a row, they got the better of Castlebar Mitchels in the senior championship final to win the Moclair Cup for the second time in their history.

It was, no doubt, a very sweet win for Tony McGarry’s lads but for Mitchels the loss of a second county final on the trot to the same opposition must be hard to swallow, all the more so because this one was by the minimum margin with Ballintubber prevailing by 1-10 to 1-9.

I don’t think the weather down the west was as bad as what we had to face up here in the capital today and this probably helped to ensure that today’s county decider was of a higher quality than when the same two sides did battle for the Moclair Cup twelve months ago. Danny Kirby’s goal for Castlebar less than a minute after the throw-in no doubt also meant that this afternoon’s contest sparked into life in short order.

It took the defending champions a fair while to come to terms with the Mitchels in that opening half but a goal from Young Footballer of the Year Cillian O’Connor (what a weekend it’s been for him), which went in via a cruel deflection off Alan Feeney, cut Castlebar’s lead to a point. By half-time, Ballintubber were a point to the good.

No real daylight opened up between the sides in the second half, with Castlebar levelling before points from Alan Plunkett and Gary Dillon edged Ballintubber two ahead only for the evergreen Kevin Filan to square the game with two frees for Pat Holmes’ lads. Then Cillian O’Connor got two for Tubber which were cancelled out by Danny Kirby and Kevin Filan (another free) for the town side with just five minutes to go. Then with time running out substitute Damien McGing knocked over what proved to be the winning point for the defending champions.

In case you’re wondering, I wasn’t in McHale Park for today’s decider – the pictures accompanying this piece were taken by Mayo Mick (who, you’ll no doubt recall, is the current prediction mini-league champion) to whom I’m very grateful. If it’s a proper match report you want from someone who was there, here’s Colm Gannon’s account of the day’s proceedings for the Mayo Advertiser.

Ballintubber now go forward to the Connacht club championship where a fortnight from now they’ll face the Galway club champions in the provincial semi-final. That match is due to be played in McHale Park on November 6th with a 2.30pm throw-in, though I guess that’s assuming that either Corofin or Tuam Stars clinch the Galway title in the meantime.

9 thoughts on “Ballintubber still best

  1. Well done Ballintubber indeed. Decent scoring in what were poor conditions too i would imagine. Interesting to see Barry got man of match award….food for thought for James I would imagine

  2. I was at the match. It was a great match, not a bit like the damp squib last year. Ballintubber are not nearly as defensive as last year and played a nice open brand of football. Cillian O’Connor stood out for sheer class, scoring 1-3. Barry Moran certainly had a great game too and was awarded MOM.

  3. Was at the game thought Castlebar were unlucky with O’Conners goal which dribbled into the net from a very weak shot for a point, then had a couple of chances saved well by tubbers goalie.
    Tom Cunnife did well on Alan who hadnt a great day
    Barry won enough ball to win twice over but forwards not on song for mitchells.
    in the end Cillian was the more assured free taker Filan missed a couple he would normally nail.
    This game could have gone either way as there is very little between these two and I suspect there will be part 3 of this event next year.

  4. I agree that Barry had a fine game but in fairness Alan Dillon pulled all the strings for ballintubber. The amount of ‘dirty’ ball that he wins and his availability to receive the ball at all times is simply outstanding. He set up Cillian for the goal and had a hand in everything that ballintubber did. Kirby started well at 14 and he had a great battle throughout with Cathal Hallinan who eventually frustrated Danny with his tight marking. Ruairi o Connor was up and down the pitch and played really well. I thought the feeneys were quieter than usual and eoin o Reilly gave Cillian o connor alot of space that he used brilliantly. Barry Moran if he stays fit and maintains his good form will be a good addition to the county set up in 2012.

  5. Ted I thought Jason Gibbons had a good game and also Cathal Hallinan who kept Danny Kirby very quiet. Kevin Filan did miss a few frees. I wondered why they didn’t use Aiden Walsh who was the specialist free taker with the minors a couple of years ago.

  6. As the only b’tubber man to put his head above the parapet I have few points! Barry Moran was very good! One has to remember that b’tubber were facing a team that hadn’t beat them competitive sport since 2003. I might need correction on that but nonetheless. Cillian already done enough in his career for me. If he retired tomorrow, well so be it. I’ll write a thousand word blog tomorrow explaining my thoughts on the final! Oiche maith

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